United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case involves an interminable dispute between three sisters,
Stephanie, Diane and Paula Mantouvalos, over the sale of
inherited property located at Othos Orfeos 31, Holargos,
Greece (“the property”).
January 11, 2017, this Court entered default judgment against
defendant Paula Mantouvalos (“Paula”) and ordered
her to convey to Stephanie Mantouvalos
(“Stephanie” or “plaintiff”) full
power of attorney and authority to sell the property. Paula
has not complied with that order and Stephanie has filed a
motion to hold Paula in contempt of court and for enforcement
of the default judgment.
reasons that follow, the Court will decline to hold Paula in
contempt but will enforce its order and, pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 70(a), authorize Stephanie to sell
Background and Procedural History
sisters inherited the disputed property when their father
died in October, 2005. In June, 2006, the sisters signed a
Settlement Agreement which was filed in an earlier case in
another session of this Court. The Settlement Agreement
The property located in Greece shall be sold as soon as
possible and listed with a licensed broker.
nearly a decade of inaction, Stephanie, whose domicile is
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, filed a complaint in this Court
in January, 2014, alleging breach of contract on the grounds
that her sisters had breached the Settlement Agreement and
their covenants of good faith and fair dealing by refusing to
cooperate with respect to the sale of the property. In
November of that year, the property was valued at
approximately $464, 000.
Mantouvalos (“Diane”), whose domicile is Miami,
Florida, did not respond to the complaint and, in April,
2015, the Court entered a final default judgment against her.
That judgment includes injunctive relief ordering Diane,
inter alia, to cooperate with her sisters in the
sale of the property and to pay one-third of the costs
related to the sale of the property. Diane's cooperation
has been sporadic and, according to Stephanie, is currently
not in compliance with this Court's 2015 order.
whose domicile is in Massachusetts, but whose address is
unknown to her sisters, answered the complaint in April,
2014. Since that time she has failed to comply with any
court-imposed deadlines. In fact, no pleadings had been filed
on Paula's behalf after her answer to the complaint until
her counsel moved to withdraw in May, 2016, based on a
“severe breakdown in the attorney-client
relationship”, i.e. a failure to communicate.
Court convened a status conference in June, 2016, at which
Paula's counsel, Attorney Paul Marino (“Attorney
Marino”), stated that he had attempted to locate Paula
multiple times but had only been able to speak to her one
week before the hearing. Paula, who attended the conference
by telephone, stated that she had recently moved and that
there was a miscommunication between her and her attorneys.
15, 2016, this Court ordered Paula to show cause why the
Court should not enter a default judgment against her. Her
response to that order was inadequate and, on January 11,
2017, this Court entered default judgement against Paula. It
ordered Paula to cooperate with Stephanie and Diane to
effectuate the sale of the property and to perform all acts
necessary to accomplish such a sale, including conveyance to
Stephanie of full power of attorney and authority to sell the
January, 2019, Attorney Marino (and his partner Robert
Launie) renewed their motions to withdraw, reiterating a
breakdown in the attorney-client relationship and an
inability to communicate with Paula.
March, 2019, Stephanie filed the instant motion to hold Paula
in contempt and for other relief as a result of Paula's
failure to ...